Here’s a question for you guys:
I did the timing belt & water pump on my '05 Civic (a 3-day job, boy that crank bolt is cranky!) and afterward the car wouldn’t start. I assumed the timing was off, and didn’t want to screw it up even more. I figured “Right, this is over my head. I’ll do the responsible thing and take it to the experts, so I can avoid causing major damage with a careless mistake!”
Well, the shop looked at the car for an hour and came back with the same: timing was off. They realigned the belt, and $350 later, I’m down the road. I asked them if there were any problems I should look for, and they said “Nah, just give us a call if you notice anything.” 15 minutes later, white smoke billows out of the hood and the car is kaput. I have it towed back to the shop.
They tell me that there was an air pocket in the radiator because I didn’t flush the coolant system after the water pump. That air pocket caused the temperature gauge to malfunction, car overheated, and the radiator melted and the head gasket was blown. A $1,200 job at least, including re-machining.
So - what’s the shop’s responsibility at this point? I’ll tell you what ended up happening, but I’d like to know your opinion first.
Some additional facts:
- The shop owner said that when they do a full timing belt job, they replace the water pump (they come together in the same kit, actually) and then flush the coolant system.
- The car wouldn’t start when I brought it to them, so there really wasn’t a way for me to flush the coolant system on my own.
- I was up front about everything with the mechanics. It was embarrassing to take in a job I couldn’t finish, but I wanted to save myself the greater embarrassment of causing serious damage to my engine - something I expected a certified Honda mechanic would know how to avoid.
I’d love to hear your opinions on this one!